The federal government has disclosed that it disbursed N500,000 each to over 1,500 women and youths and artisans as starter packs and expansion kits for businesses. The government through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs also disclosed that it has made notable efforts in the area of training and empowerment of people of the Niger Delta region.
The Honourable Minister of State, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Donald Omotayo Alasoadura said this at an interview session with the Minister’s Platform held recently in Abuja.
Alasoadura also revealed that the Ministry is making relentless efforts in collaborating with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through First Bank on Agricultural Revolution Initiative in the region.
He said, “Agriculture is a veritable area that is to be tapped into in the Niger Delta region,” adding that First Bank is ready to give as much as N50 billion grant to develop the sector especially in the area of low land rice cultivation and fishery.
According to him, the grant will enable the Niger Delta region to produce enough rice that can feed the nation.
He stated that “I believe that when this comes through, the Niger Delta area will not be the same again as far as agriculture is concerned.”
The Minister of State further stated that the “Ministry’s master plan for the Niger Delta region is tailored towards agriculture, empowerment, electricity, housing, infrastructure, land reclamation, health, construction of jetties and canalization, provision of available funds for development, geared towards uplifting the living standard of the Niger Delta people.”
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that the Ogoni water and sea pollution is addressed, Senator Alasoadura highlighted that “the Ministry is also partnering Ministries of Environment and Petroleum Resources respectively in tackling the menace and bringing a lasting solution to the problem.”
On environmental degradation and pollution caused by Hydrocarbon activities such as gas flaring, crude oil exploration and oil spillage, the Minister told the audience that the administration would be remembered for the completion of the East-West Road.
He explained that the Ministry secured N10 billion from the 2021 Sovereign SUKUK Insurance for the project.
This he said is in addition “to large extent industrialization, while also addressing the economic challenges confronting the region by promoting the welfare of the people and ensuring that peace and tranquillity is maintained.
Part of these efforts Senator Alasoadura opined is ensuring adequate intervention, consultation with the Traditional rulers, major stakeholders, youths etc. to maintain peace and progress in the region.
Other projects by the Ministry include revamping of various abandoned projects located at various communities in the 9 States of the Niger Delta region which were commissioned and handed over to beneficiaries.
Others are: Skill acquisition centres, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Headquarters, 66 flats Police residential quarters, amongst others.
He equally pointed out that the Ministry was coordinating to ensure that the 3% from the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) meant for the development of Host Communities in the region is judiciously utilized.